A Facebook post on Saturday evening confirmed that Motorhead RC Raceway in San Jacinto, CA has ceased operation.
According to an RCTech thread about the facility, the indoor off-road track opened as Airland Hobbies Indoor Raceway in June 2011. It was sold to Ron House in June 2014, who changed the name to Motorhead RC Raceway. House hosted several trophy events at the track, like the Pro-Line Indoor Winter Nationals, as well as traveling points series like the Jimmy Babcock Racing League and Top Notch Series.
I called House on Monday morning to find out what happened.
“It was a lot of things,” he said, “and it’s just the way RC racing is right now - it’s dying.”
House explained that the track and hobby shop struggled due to several factors, which he believes are impacting other tracks as well - especially in the Southern California region. “Everyone just does what they want,” House said, “and the manufacturers, distributors, sponsored drivers and social media are killing the sport.”
“There’s nobody buying parts at the hobby shop because the manufacturers are sponsoring every Tom, Dick and Harry - plus they sell direct, so it kills the hobby shop,” House said. “There’s no reason for a track to have ten regular racers sponsored by a single company. We couldn’t sell tires, we couldn’t sell anything. That’s what killed the hobby shop.”
Scheduling, too, was an issue.
“The tracks are killing each other,” said House, “because there’s a so-called big race every single weekend. When you have a big race every weekend there’s no club racing. It’s dead around here.”
He felt that inflammatory social media conversation may have kept people away from his business.
“There’s so much Facebook drama,” said House, “and the racers in Southern California are spoiled rotten. It doesn’t matter what you do - people complain. Racers that had never even been here were talking trash about the track.”
House feels that a new industry institution could help solve a lot of the issues he feels are plaguing RC racing.”
“ROAR is a joke, everyone knows it’s a joke, and it does not do anything for the sport,” said House, “we need an organization that protects racing - that makes rules for every track to follow, makes classes that everyone uses, and schedules races. They need to set some rules for manufacturers.”
He said that a lack of leadership is what has prevented the hobby from growing.
“RC racing is accessible to anyone - even with disabilities,” said House, “so why isn’t it the biggest sport ever? Because there’s no organization, and there’s no one in charge. If a track makes a rule and people get mad, they go to the next track. But if we all had the same rules, it wouldn’t be an issue.”
As business slowed during an already-slow season, with few people practicing, House said that Motorhead RC Raceway just couldn’t stay open.
“I’ve seen a lot of racers leave the sport in the last 2-3 months,” House said, “so it’s got to change quickly.”